Wednesday 13 June 2012

Steve Fights Crime! The cape of good hope!

Batman runs across a crepuscular beach, by Neal Adams
Is it normal to feel sorry for a cape?

I like to think it is, as I always felt sorry for Dr Strange's original item of that description.

There it was, merrily doing its duty of enabling Strangey to fly - or whatever it was it did - when he dumped it and got himself a fancy new one with bendy, pointy bits. There's gratitude for you.

I seem to recall he got rid of the original after being given a new, more powerful model by the Ancient One, following his first fight with Dormammu.

Of course, some may argue the Ancient One would've been showing a lot more gumption if he'd given Dr Strange a more powerful cape before his fight with Dormammu.

That aside; as we witnessed in my last post, in my quest to assemble a costume in which I can fight crime, I've decided to don Ant-Man's helmet.

But a man can't fight crime in just a hat. He needs so much more.

Hence my concerns about capes.

Of course, it's not compulsory to wear one - many fine super-heroes have done without - but, given that fighting crime is the one time in life you can get away with wearing a cape in public, I feel I should take advantage of this rare opportunity.

But which cape to wear?

Superman's cape I never liked. It always looked suspiciously like an old blanket he'd just painted an S on. At one point in the 1970s, Supergirl took to tying her cape around her neck, which seemed a recipe for a good strangling. The Original Captain Marvel's cape was so small it suggested his funds were limited. Adam Warlock gained a certain gravitas after adopting his cape, and the Son of Satan's cape had a certain something.

But, in the end, there's only one cape I can go for.

And that's Batman's. The sheer bat-shapiness of it, with all its Gothic arches and the tantalising suspicion he could use it to fly with if he wanted, means I can't resist it.

So, I now have Ant-Man's helmet and Batman's cape. Already I can sense I'm going to be sending fear into the hearts of wrong-doers who are a cowardly and superstitious lot.

But I can't just wear a helmet and cape. If I'm to defeat evil, I'm going to need a shirt.

And that shall be the subject of my next post.

In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts of what have been your favourite super-hero capes of the comic book world.


Anonymous said...

In an essay on Superman and Batman in the book "All in Color for a Dime," Ted White said that Superman's cape just flapped behind him, but that Batman used his to cast menacing shadows and Strike Fear into the Heart of the Underworld. I don't remember him actually using it to fly in the comics in the Silver Age, but maybe he does now. I heard that he used it as a glider chute in The Animated Series. IIRC, Moon Knight used his cape as a glider/parachute. There was also an imaginary story in World's Finest #178 where Superman lost his powers but tried to continue as a costumed crime fighter. His new outfit included a cape/glider chute.

Dougie said...

Yes, indeed. When I first encountered the mysterious Moon Knight, he wore a crescent-shaped glider-cape.

Atlas refugee Devil-Slayer (aka Demon Hunter) used a Shadow Cloak. I never warmed to him in the Defenders of the early 80s; three or four years of dour, dated Steve Gerber pastiche.

B Smith said...

Then again, you might recall that Steve Rogers, in his Nomad identity, tripped over his cape while in pursuit of the Serpent Squad when they were kidnapping that Exxon executive.

You may need to decide just what kind of activities you will be engaging in before going for the cape.

Steve W. said...

I'll certainly be avoiding revolving doors, that's for sure. If any wrong-doers flee by running through one, I'll have no choice but to let them go. :(

Marie Gilbert said...

This was really funny. We forget that our super hero has to conform to some of the rules that we all must be aware of.

Boston Bill said...

Steve, you'll be upset to find out that I think Doc. Strange's 2nd cape is the best. It was certainly flash, what with it's twirly gold boarders and pointy top; but it's the only cape I can think of that serves any real purpose: levitation. With it, DS can levitate with no more effort than a thought. He can also control it from a distance and has used it to attack his enemies.

Steve W. said...

Bill, this is where I'm so much smarter than Dr Strange. If I had a remote-control cape, I'd just stay at home all night and send the cape out to do all the super-heroing for me.

Then again, if I was multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne, I'd just hire some ninjas to do all the crime-fighting for me, instead of doing it myself.

PS. Hi, Marie.